Friday 30 May, 2014
The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has this week announced the resignation of CEO Matt Linnegar, who will leave the organisation in July, to become CEO of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF). Matt has been a strong leader of the NFF, and has made a significant contribution over the last three years. As the mastermind behind the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, he led the first strategic plan developed for the sector, by the sector.
Matt has been instrumental in leading policy development and reform in Australian agriculture. In particular, his work on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, maintaining the off-road fuel rebate and R&D funding, and developing a suite of measures to help farmers, their families and communities in the current drought.
Matt will leave the NFF as a lifelong friend of the organisation. The NFF expresses its sincere thanks to Matt for his forward-looking approach and ongoing determination to secure a stronger, more sustainable sector. For more, read our media release.
This week, the Supreme Court of Western Australia (WA) has ruled WA farmer Michael Baxter was not liable for the loss of organic status on his neighbour's farm (southeast of Perth), following claims of cross-contamination from Baxter growing and swathing Genetically Modified (GM) canola in 2010.
The ability for Australian farmers to choose the most suitable production system for their situation has underpinned the international competitiveness of the sector. Organic, conventional and GM crops have grown side-by-side in Australia for many years, and it's a very unfortunate situation when we see farmers taking each other to court.
This week's judgement reaffirms that farmers should have the right to choose their production system, but also highlights that many individuals do not understand the vital role biotechnology can play in Australian agriculture. In fact, the responsible and strategic application of biotechnology within Australian agriculture can result in significant benefits for Australian farmers, the environment, consumers and the Australian economy as a whole. As an example, through using biotechnology, Australian cotton growers have reduced their use of pesticides by approximately 90 per cent over the last 10 years.
The NFF will continue to advocate for the right of farmers to access proven safe technologies. The NFF is a founding member of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA), and as part of this, will continue to work alongside ABCA to ensure Australians have access to credible, balanced and science-based information on biotechnology and gene technology.
NFF CEO Matt Linnegar appeared on ABC's Lateline on
Several individuals within the highest level of Government indicated a push for the duties of the new Australian Border Force to include ag's long-running responsibility of biosecurity. The NFF remains firm that any such move of duties would weaken quarantine protections and potentially jeopardise Australia's favourable biosecurity status. Matt outlined that if a foot and mouth disease outbreak were to hit Australia, it would cost the industry $50 billion over 10 years.
To watch the program, visit the ABC Lateline website here.
Did you know that 76 percent of students believed that cotton socks were an animal product? Or perhaps that 45% of students and teachers believed farmers damaged the environment? The alarming results were taken from a study undertaken in 2011, commissioned by the Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF) to determine the level of understanding of food and fibre production in Australian schools.
PIEF's main role is to provide national leadership and coordination of food and fibre education initiatives across Australia. The NFF understands the importance of agriculture's role in education in schools at all levels, and has successfully advocated on behalf of farmers to secure Government funding for PIEF and other organisations into the future. The Government has now agreed that their $2 million election commitment will deliver products and services that accurately reflect modern agriculture, allowing PIEF to play a lead role in the development and delivery of the important program.
For more information about PIEF, see here.
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